Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Maybe this year, I'll make the Parent Honor Roll

I’ve decided this is my favorite time of year.

And the reason is simple, though perhaps somewhat pathetic:  we’re three weeks into school and I haven’t messed anything up yet.

Sometimes by the time school gets out in June, I feel like I’m looking back on a ladder of errors and missteps. Arriving late to a parent-teacher conference. Making mistakes on the library volunteer schedule that I’m responsible for organizing every week. Neglecting to refill the kids’ lunch accounts. Overlooking my room-parent duty to supply popsicles for Field Day.

The kids seem to make far fewer mistakes than I do in the course of a school year. But their responsibilities also fall into a narrower scope: get to the bus on time and get homework done. There isn’t a lot of room for error.

I take solace in reminding myself that school isn’t my job, and I make far fewer mistakes at the work for which I’m paid than the unpaid work of overseeing the kids’ schedules and events and my own school-related volunteer commitments. And it also helps to know I’m not the only adult making mistakes. Last year it was the day before Field Day when I suddenly remembered that supplying popsicles was my responsibility. “I would have been the first room parent in the history of the Carlisle Public Schools to forget popsicles on Field Day,” I said to Holly’s homeroom teacher. “Actually, the entire sixth grade teaching team forgot about Popsicles this year. We were relieved that you thought of it at all,” she confessed, making me feel a little better.

But it’s only the third full week of school. We’ve only just begun. No one yet has missed the bus on my watch or left for school without the proper early-dismissal note. So far we have a perfect batting average.

It won’t last, but it’s a good feeling while it does. The kids are always diligent about homework and routines; I’m the one who gets frazzled as the year goes on and makes out the check for intermural sports incorrectly or gets lost on Parents’ Night. So far so good. In another month, I’ll have mistakes to report, but at the moment, I’m passing both seventh grade and tenth grade as a parent.

Maybe this year I’ll even make the Parental Honor Roll, which I’m convinced exists in some secret place and lists all the parents who do everything right.

Or if not this year, maybe next.

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